SPOKANE, WA June 1, 2015 – Washington employees can now be certified as “work ready,” positioning the state to better compete for jobs, business growth and economic development.

The announcement came late last week at the 10th annual Energy and Construction Best Practices summit at Bates Technical College in Tacoma, putting Washington on the national map of more than 20 states promoting similar efforts. The certification program uses the National Career Readiness certificate (NCRC) to demonstrate employee skills.

“This new initiative is a result of our commitment to building a world-class business climate. The program boosts Washington’s ability to compete as a business friendly state by helping to match qualified employees with world-class employers – a win for both workers and businesses,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said.

The NCRC is a nationally recognized credential that measures relevant foundational work skills including reading comprehension, applied mathematics and critical thinking. To encourage employees throughout Washington State to take the test, platinum-level NCRC certificates will have the governor’s signature. Platinum is the highest certification level an individual can receive.

The statewide initiative, called Work Ready Washington, had three of its founding partners in attendance for the announcement last week, including representatives from the Spokane Area Workforce Development Council, Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing, and Lower Columbia College.

“Employers throughout Washington reported needing employees with specific workplace skills, and in response, we worked hard to ensure a statewide solution, which was created in partnership with education, workforce development, and business” said Dawn Karber, Chief Operations Officer of the Spokane Area Workforce Development Council.

“These are the skills businesses report needing to succeed and grow, and we are so pleased to have the support of our governor,” said MaryKaye Bredeson, Executive Director of the Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing.

“Companies consider the NCRC credential as part of their location and expansion decisions. It’s a measure of how many workers there are with skills they need,” said Hahli Clark, Lower Columbia College Executive Director of Corporate Partnerships & Training.

Individuals interested in pursuing the certification have an opportunity to prepare for the assessment by using KeyTrain, a virtual study guide available at WorkSource centers throughout the state.  “As a partner in the WorkSource system, I’m proud our training programs, like KeyTrain, help produce a skilled, trained workforce prepared to work hard for Washington’s employers,” said Dale Peinecke, Commissioner of the state’s Employment Security Department. “This new certification is just one more reason businesses nationwide can trust Washington will deliver a world-class workforce.”

There are already more than 3,400 NCRC certified employees in Washington State due to pilot projects that tested the certification’s relevance and demand in the state. Work Ready Washington is seeking to bring that total to 32,000 over the next two years and is seeking support from 3,000 employers to publicly endorse the credential.

Re-published from www.wdcspokane.com